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5 Things Optimists Do Differently

5 Things Optimists Do Differently

Optimists are known to be healthier, happier and more successful people than their negative counterparts. The basic reason for this is that their emotions help them to think positively, and they have more encouragement and motivation to move forward and deal with their daily struggles.

These optimists don’t let a single mess or a small setback ruin their day.

Being an optimist sounds ideal, don’t you think? Is it possible for you to join the circle of optimists all over the world?

Sure, it is! You’re given the chance to learn how to be one–optimism is not an inborn trait, after all. You can start by knowing how to do these 5 things differently.

1. Optimists know that you don’t necessarily need to achieve something in order to be truly happy.

Happiness comes from within. It’s a conscious decision that you need to make, whether or not things are going the way you want them to.

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If you provide a condition to your happiness, like you’ll only be happy if you’re able to achieve something, then what happens if that condition isn’t met?

Success isn’t a guaranteed factor. If you equate happiness with success, you may be happy, but this happiness stops the minute you start failing.

Give yourself the power to be committed to being happy by adapting a grateful outlook in life. 

2. They avoid negative people and refrain from encountering bad vibes.

Optimists are well aware that being negative and being positive are both contagious. So, for them to create an optimistic environment, they stay away from grouchy people who always complain.

Instead, they nourish relationships with emotionally supportive and equally optimistic people. They know that life is too short to spend with people who don’t really value them, so they choose to spend it with people who do realize their worth.

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3. Optimists respect themselves and their time.

In a way, optimistic people are like wild and brave souls–they are confident that they don’t need the approval of anyone else in order to live their lives. Positive people know that people will always judge them with whatever they do, so why bother pleasing people when it’s obvious that you can never please everyone every single time?

Optimists even have the courage and the confidence to say no to things that don’t really matter to them. They’re not pressured into doing something that they don’t really like, and they’re free to pursue their passion accordingly.

4. Optimists are resourceful people.

Successful entrepreneurs and optimists are both innovative and creative individuals. They know that they’re never going to have everything that they need, so they make do with what they have instead.

– Steve Jobs didn’t wallow in fear when he didn’t have enough money to fund his startup: he sold his only means of transportation, his VW Microbus, to finance it.

– Walt Disney didn’t go into severe depression when he was told that Mickey Mouse is a “giant mouse on the screen that would terrify women”; he pushed through and look at how famous and well-loved Mickey is today.

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– Donald Trump was bankrupt four times (in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009) but his resourcefulness and innovation gave him a $2.7 billion net worth today.

5. They know that life is not fair–and they’re okay with that.

Most people feel grumpy, frustrated or disappointed because they expect life to be fair for everyone.

Why does Justin Bieber have a lot of haters? Because a lot of people don’t like the fact that he gets millions just by performing and doing his hair flips regularly.

Why are there a lot of complainers all over the world? Because they feel that they’re self-entitled to everything that their neighbors have.

Why are there crime scenes? Because people feel like they’re not given equal treatment (such as equal money with the rest of the society), they should just go ahead and make things equal. By taking the matter into their own hands, they commit crimes instead.

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Optimists are not like these people. They know that life is never going to be easy–it’s never fair and it’s never predictable. In fact, they expect life to be unfair and unpredictable most of the time! They accept the fact that their friends may be given more money, that some celebrities are given more fame, and that some of their loved ones are more successful in terms of romance.

And you know what?

They’re okay with that.

More by this author

Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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